As we age, our body changes and that includes our mouth. Growing older may mean that we experience changes in our bones as well as our teeth. Dental health becomes even more important as we see those changes happening.
Did you know that the nerves in your mouth actually become smaller as you age? That means you may not be able to feel cavities or other problems with your teeth and gums as readily as you might have when you were younger. That also means that a regular dental checkup is that much more important. Visiting the dentist at least every six months will help you and your dentist find those small issues and take care of them before they become too big.
Dry mouth also becomes an issue for some older people, causing cavities and other issues. Although dry mouth is not a natural part of aging, it can happen as a result of some typical medications that are often prescribed for older patients. In fact, there are over 500 medications that have dry mouth as side effects, including those prescribed for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
Gum disease also becomes a bigger issue as we age. We may not feel the effects of gum disease right away, but if left untreated it can eventually destroy the gums, bone, and ligaments that support the teeth. Again, this is why it is so important to continue to visit the dentist on a regular basis so you can have your gum health checked before it develops into a serious issue.
As we grow older, we need to pay special attention to our health, including our dental health. Some guidelines to follow at any age, to maintain healthy gums and teeth, include:
Brush twice a day
Floss at least once a day
Stay hydrated by drinking tap water that contains fluoride
Visit your dentist for a cleaning and checkup every six months